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Blogging for her supper
20 November 2013
Kate Olsson’s food blog, Finger, Fork & Knife, is a
very modern example of one young woman’s self-made path to career and business
Finger, Fork & Knife provides the time-stripped with
easy to prepare, inspirational recipes, accompanied by tantalising photographs.
The modest (almost self-deprecating) 24-year-old has an easy
manner that’s evident in the tone and feel of her blog as much as it is when you
speak with her:
“I don’t think I’m unique in anyway. I hope I’ve created a
good-looking blog that gives people pleasure and inspires some to go to the
next step and cook from it.
“People do seem to respond well to the stories - the
captions on my shots often have something personal in them and that seems to
“I don’t have any formal training and my recipes, I think,
are easy to follow, which means people aren’t intimidated. If you have a go and
things work that can help build confidence and hopefully that then inspires you
to try something new or do something differently,” says Kate about the chain of
events that has brought her blog success?
“I was at University in Melbourne doing an Arts degree, writing
History and International Politics essays, and my parents had moved overseas,
which meant I had to fend for myself. I’d always had an interest in food and
cooking, because of my mother, and I began to teach myself to cook using Women’s
Weekly cookbooks,” Kate explains of the first steps toward starting Finger,
Fork & Knife.
To further “impress” her mother with her ability to look
after herself - and using a camera she’d been given as a present - Kate then set
about photographing and documenting her efforts.
It wasn’t much of a jump to try a blog, and see whether other
people might be interested.
That decision is now morphing into a career in food
publishing and editing.
“About two years ago, when I’d finished university and was
looking around to work, I thought I’d really like to get into publishing and
editing. I quickly realised there were a lot of people out there with Arts
degrees or media degrees and we were all after the same few jobs.
“If I wanted to get from A to B and make something more of
what I loved doing then I needed to find other ways to get there,” continues
Kate, who has slowly come to realise that her blog hobby is now something she
can put on her CV with pride.
“I love cookbooks and I have a whole library of food
magazines but if I’m cooking from a recipe then I go online. It’s faster,
easier,” admits Kate, who is also an event chef working with the Melbourne
based catering company, Bright Young Things. She also consults and works with a
number of food magazines and in December, Kate will launch with another foodie
mate an online food website called www.heytucker.com
(Tucker, for short) filling what they believe is a gap in the market.
“Tucker,” Kate explains, “is a site for 18-35 year olds who
want a casual, fun, inspirational way into the kitchen - a platform on which
they can express their creativity through food. It will also provide users with
the basic techniques and inspire them to build on those techniques.”
Tucker will also expand Kate’s skills and “may even lead me to
the next stages of a food editing and publishing career”.
In My Tool Kit
In the kitchen, Kate can’t go past her KitchenAid stand
mixer: “I was in Sydney at the Taste festival about two years ago and saw the
company’s stall. I bought it there and then as a treat for myself. What I
didn’t take into account was carrying it back to my hotel and then to the
airport where I tried to get it on as hand luggage and in the end had to put it
in the hold. I spent the whole trip worrying about whether it would be okay. It
was so stressful. I’m really not sure the $50 discount was worth it in the
Katie Quinn Davies and her blog, What Katie Ate, along with
Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks (blog), are top of Kate’s inspiration list.
Quinn Davies develops recipes, produces the stories and is
also a photographer, which provided Kate with the impetus to do the same with
her blog. The food both Katie and Heidi prepare is “fresh and light”, two
things that appeal to Kate, who also really loves the flavours of south-east
“Just lately, I’ve been thinking about where I should focus
my energies. The creative side, creating the recipes and designing are where I feel
most comfortable,” says Kate.
“At the moment,” she continues, “I am consumed by the whole
foodie world. Every bit of information I can find or that comes my way, no
matter where it comes from I’ll take it on board. Staying current means talking
with people in the industry, reading, doing research and having a feel for
what’s trending. I like going back into my mum’s cookbooks and finding an
ingredient that maybe isn’t being used much and pairing that with something with
which people feel comfortable, that they know. I like traditional cooking but
lightened up, like the chicken curry where I substituted coconut water for
coconut cream. The dish was much lighter without sacrificing the flavour.
“I don’t really have one single mentor. Kate Stewart, who
began Bright Young Things, and where I event chef, is always there for me to
talk to about business matters and to discuss food ideas.
“I ran across this idea from a caterer I was working with, recently.
She’d paired ginger nut biscuits and blue cheese and it was amazing. Now I’m
obsessed with developing a ginger nut biscuit base cheese cake with blue cheese
and quince jelly. It’s taking a while to develop but I’m determined to crack
(This dilemma comes from the same young woman who went
through more than 10 blocks of premium dark chocolate developing her mousse
driven chocolate tart, a recipe she has supplied here, for Ruby members.)
Truffle Tart with Frosted Blueberries //
Stripping back a traditional recipe and giving it a new a look, taste, and
feel is something I particularly enjoy, not least this simple and elegant tart,
which took me a number of weeks and over 10 blocks of premium dark chocolate to
get just right. This is not like your typical chocolate truffle tart – it has
no cow’s milk, no butter, and no heavy cream. This is more of a dark, rich, and
glossy chocolate mousse. I used an almond milk and coconut cream base in place
of dairy, and added dark 80% chocolate to give it an impossibly decadent je ne
With a crunchy chocolate biscuit and peanut butter base and served with a
glistening mound of frosty blueberries and a big dollop of crème fraiche, this
dessert is sure to please.
(about 8) chocolate biscuits - I used chocolate ripple biscuits
tbsp peanut butter
organic, free-range eggs
cup (125ml) unsweetened almond milk
cups (375ml) coconut cream
good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped
or cocoa powder for dusting
fraiche or ice cream
cream is used here in place of whipping cream. In order to achieve the proper
result you will need to use full-fat coconut cream.
Lightly grease and line a 20cm tart ring or spring form pan with baking paper.
To make the base, place the chocolate biscuits, peanut butter and honey in the
bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand.
Tip the biscuit mixture into the pan and spread evenly with the back of a spoon
to an even
thickness. Pop into the fridge for 30 minutes until firm.
To make the chocolate filling, lightly whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Set
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and coconut cream to the boil. Slowly pour
onto the eggs, whisking as you do so. Add the chocolate pieces and stir until
melted and smooth. Carefully pour onto the chocolate biscuit base. Pop into the
fridge again to chill overnight.
When ready to serve, take a sharp knife, dip it in hot water and carefully
loosen the tart from the edge of the tart pan. Transfer to serving plate and
dust with cacao powder. Top with a mound of frozen blueberries and serve
alongside a generous dollop of crème fraiche or vanilla icecream.